The Palestine City Council approved further funding of a quiet zone through downtown Palestine.
The city of Palestine, along with help from the Palestine Economic Development Corporation, will ask the Federal Railroad Administration to allow a quiet zone at the crossings of South Magnolia and South Sycamore streets.
The PEDC helped make the zone a reality through a $10,000 grant for an additional stop arm on South Magnolia Street.
Citizens National Bank also donated $10,000 for the quiet zone. Main Street business owners also pledged dollars to the costs.
Greg Laudadio, PEDC Assistant Director and Main Street Manager, said PEDC board members “are aware of the importance of a quiet zone to downtown businesses.”
“The board was made aware of the monetary contributions that small business owners were willing to pledge towards this effort and decided to contribute $10,000 to help make it a reality,” Laudadio said. “It is obvious that businesses will benefit from this new quiet zone ordinance and the PEDC wants to be a partner in the project.”
The city contracted with engineering firm CTC to work with Union Pacific and the Federal Railroad Administration to create a quiet zone on South Magnolia and South Sycamore streets. According to federal law, only local governments and public agencies may establish a quiet zone.
The quiet zone will stop loud train horns passing through Palestine at the two crossings. According to the FRA, train horns have to be at least 96 decibels and can be as loud as 110 decibels. By comparison, a Boeing 747 jet taking off is 100 decibels.
To further ensure safety, Union Pacific asked that a second stop arm be placed on Magnolia Street. The railroad and the city agreed to split the $50,000 cost for the stop arm. The grants and pledges will be used for the city’s half of the stop arm.
Union Pacific will install the arm.
In the quiet zone, residents could still hear train horns. Federal law dictates train engineers may sound the horn in emergency situations. Also, engineers must sound the horn when maintenance employees are working on the tracks.
Palestine’s quiet zone will be one of over 100 quiet zones in Texas, the most of any state in the country.
According to two FRA studies, there is no correlation between quiet zones and rail accidents.